China's Transport Plans to Bolster Global Trade, Connectivity
China's plan to expand and modernize its transport network will boost connectivity, the allocation of global resources, and trade across the globe, experts have said.
China recently unveiled a program called the "Global 1-2-3 Logistics Circle" to expand the country's strength in the transport sector over the next 15 years, setting long-term goals for the industry to develop a modern, high-quality and comprehensive national transport network.
The aim is for one-day domestic delivery of goods in China, two-day delivery from neighboring countries, and three-day delivery to major global cities, according to guidelines jointly released last month by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.
A SMALLER WORLD
"China's investment under the transportation network planning will definitely help boost the global logistics industry, the global supply chain and the transportation network" against the backdrop of global economic setbacks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Shakeel Ramay, director of the China Study Center at the Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy Institute, told Xinhua recently.
"It will lead to a better allocation of global resources as goods can be transported farther and faster with less energy," Khairy Tourk, a professor of economics with the Stuart School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, told Xinhua.
Developing countries that lie on China's doorstep will be major beneficiaries of the expected growth, Tourk said.
The program lays the foundation for the construction of a territorial transportation corridor that serves many members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he said. "As such, countries like Myanmar and Vietnam are expected to be manufacturing hubs in the near future."
The corridor would also promote a community built on common interests in the region and help ASEAN integration, with many landlocked countries being connected to the seas, he added.
Europe will be another major beneficiary of the program, he said, as a large amount of goods transported through the China-Europe railway network tend to be of relatively high value.
"Faster connectivity among nations results in cultures coming into more contact with one another. This bodes well for world peace," he said.
"China has laid out a sweeping transportation plan that knits the world together," Tourk said.
BOOSTING GLOBAL TRADE
The plan will also "have a positive impact on global trade," Ramay said.
Chinese investment under the plan will help improve customer satisfaction regarding product quality, and at the same time reduce logistics costs, he said.
"Perishable commodities, agricultural commodities like fruits, vegetables, and even the meat industry will also be benefiting from this efficient transportation infrastructure," he said.
Noting that Pakistan's transport infrastructure has been greatly improved with the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a landmark project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Ramay said the transport plan will further improve the land routes between the two countries and promote bilateral trade.
They will "facilitate Pakistan's exports to China's Xinjiang and other regions and BRI countries, while China can also regard Pakistan as a transit country for trade with other countries. It will be a win-win situation," he said.
Wu Kegang, director of the British Chambers of Commerce's Link to China program, believes China's transport plan will be meaningful to British businesses interested in the China and Asian markets.
"First, the expansion of transport networks into rural communities in China means greater markets for British products. Second, British exporters can use China as a distribution hub for Asia-Pacific countries if better logistics are provided," Wu said.
Regarding Latin America, Argentine economist and sinologist Gustavo Girado said that although the region has no "natural geographic link" with China, the development of the Asian country's port system and railways will facilitate trade between the two sides.
"If China improves its port system and railways, there will be an eventual drop in logistics costs. This would have an impact on the commercialization and distribution of its goods, especially on the final prices of both imported and exported products," said the expert.